Monday, June 6, 2016

For Little-What's-His-Name and answers to a reader's questions

On Saturday evening I took the last stitches in the baby quilt I made for a friend and her baby who is expected on June 21.  I call the quilt "Counting on Little-What's-His-Name". When the baby is born and they've settled on a name I'll finish the label and replace "Little-What's-His-Name" with the actual name! The quilt was delivered to the Mom-to-be yesterday and she was delighted with it!

I don't normally work from patterns but this quilt was just so darned cute and so much fun to make that I've now made it twice (19 years apart)! The pattern comes from a book by Chuck Nohara. It is an old book that is out-of-print. It is loaded with great ideas and designs. If you come across a copy snap it up. There are many quilts in the book as well as lovely gift items for everyone in the family!

I hand quilted Little-What's-His-Name's quilt; I've got the sore finger joints to prove it! In a previous post I wrote about a couple of nifty tools, one of which I used to help with the marking of the quilt. The tool was a Hera Marker. It scores (or creases) the fabric thereby creating a quilting line. It worked like a charm and was perfect for all the straight line quilting in the sashing. A reader asked what quilting thread I used, how I keep the stitches even and any other tips that might help so here I go!

Thread Used - I used YLI hand quilting thread. I like it because it doesn't twist and tangle so I can work with a longer length. 

Needle Used - As for the needle I used a Roxanne applique needle which is longer and thicker than a between which I find very hard on my fingers. The needles are in the little pouch in the upper left corner of this picture.

For me a bigger, thicker needle tends not to flex as much and I find it easier to get consistent stitches. Don't feel that you have to use a particular needle for a particular task. Experiment with different needles until you find the one that is comfortable in your hand and that allows you to achieve the desired result.

Even Stitches - For this quilt I am did a bigger stitch. To keep the stitches as even as possible I took only two or three stitches at a time. I'm not sure how people count stitches but what I count are those that show on top so if I'm taking two stitches that means two stitches show on the front of the quilt but some quilters would consider that four stitches since there are two on top and two on the back. I find it is easier to gauge the size of the stitches if there are fewer on the needle; I can compare what I have on the needle to what I've already done.

Hoop or Frame? - I use neither! I've tried a frame and didn't like being tied to it plus in my little house I have no space for a frame. I've tried working with a hoop and it is just plain uncomfortable plus it is hard to use a hoop when you pin baste. So I dispensed with the hoop. I pin baste my quilt so that everything is tight, smooth and flat. If it isn't basted tight, smooth and flat it won't quilt tight, smooth and flat. I start from the middle out and anchor all the major seam lines, just as I would if I were machine quilting. Once this is done I can quilt the border, trim the excess fabric and bind the quilt. In doing it this way the excess fabric is removed making the quilt lighter, smaller and easier to manage. Once the quilt is bound I go back and fill in the quilting. It works for me and I get excellent results.

I hope this was helpful. Until I post again happy sewing!

Karen H